Comprehensive Review of Vermont’s Renewable & Clean Electricity Policies and Programs
The Department of Public Service is currently reviewing the policies and programs related to renewable electricity to determine what changes are necessary to achieve state energy and climate goals. Input from the public is critical. Thank you to those who have already provided recommendations for the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan and the 2021 Climate Action Plan in addition to the Request for Input issued in July 2022 on this topic. Your recommendations helped the Department develop this process.
Want to engage in the process and help share recommendations for future policies and programs? Here are some ways to get involved:
Interested in hearing about upcoming engagement opportunities related to this effort?
Request to join our mailing list and receive our monthly newsletter and other related communications:
The sections below provide information of various aspects of this effort which are currently ongoing:
- Upcoming Engagement Opportunities - highlights ways you can get engaged with this process
- Monthly Updates - provides links to monthly updates on this effort (starting June 2023)
- Past Events - covers past events held on the topics of renewable and clean electricity
- Public Engagement Plan - offers information on the Department of Public Service's Plan to engage Vermonter's in this policy review process
- Supporting Information - provides information on renewable and clean electricity in Vermont
Since July, the Department of Public Service, in partnership with the Stakeholder Advisory Group (see below for details) and consultant Sustainable Energy Advantage, has been working to explore possible impacts of modifications to the Renewable Energy Standard.
On October 10th, we're hosting a workshop to review the draft results of this modeling effort. The workshop will include a presentation of the draft results and opportunities for stakeholders to review and ask questions about the draft results.
- Date: Tuesday October 10th
- Time: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
- Location: Virtual, register here
- Agenda forthcoming
- What is the technical analysis ? The Department of Public Service (Department) is reviewing Vermont’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and related programs. As part of this effort, the Department is conducting a technical analysis to review different options for modifying or expanding the current RES requirement of 75% renewable to a 100% requirement of renewable and/or carbon-free resources. To support this effort and ensure consideration of a broad array of perspectives in the selection of scenarios, inputs, and assumptions in the analysis, the Department is convening a Stakeholder Advisory Group.
- What is the Stakeholder Advisory Group? To support the technical analysis and ensure consideration of a broad array of perspectives in the selection of scenarios, inputs, and assumptions in the analysis, the Department has convened a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG). In June 2023, the Department conducted a public nomination process to recruit interested stakeholders who could reasonably represent perspectives from industry, environmental advocates, state agencies, community leadership, and historically underrepresented customer populations. The Department developed a short memo describing the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of participating in the Stakeholder Advisory Group if you'd like to know more.
- Who is on the Stakeholder Advisory Group? Information on members of the Stakeholder Advisory Group and their affiliation are available here.
- Stakeholder Advisory Group Meetings & Related Materials: The Stakeholder Advisory Group will meet roughly monthly with the Department and their technical consultants, with more frequent meetings in the early stages of this work as necessary. Non-members are welcome to attend the meetings, which will include dedicated time on the agenda for active participation of non-members. If you're interested in receiving the meeting information, please email PSD.REPrograms@vermont.gov. Materials from each meeting, including minutes, are provided here for reference:
- Meeting 1: Friday July 21, 10:00am-11:30am
- Meeting 2: Tuesday August 1, 10:30am-12:30pm
- Meeting 3: Thursday August 31, 9:00am-11:00am
- Meeting 4: Monday September 11, 2:00pm-4:00pm
- Meeting 5: Tuesday October 17, 1:00pm-3:00pm
- Meeting material to be posted as available
The Public Service Department and your local Regional Planning Commission are teaming up to ensure your voice is heard as critical energy policies are updated. Help us determine the future of electricity in Vermont. This September, attend an event near you. Events will occur throughout the Regional Planning Commission regions and will involve a variety of ways to engage in conversation about what matters most to Vermonters when thinking about electricity. We want to hear from you on topics like:
1. What are your priorities when thinking about where our electricity comes from?
2. How can our policies and programs better support those goals?
Want to learn more about these topics before engaging? Check out the materials from our informational webinar series from earlier this year.
To help everyone stay in the loop on what the Department is doing to review Vermont's clean and renewable electricity programs and policies, we're sending our stakeholder list a monthly update. In case you missed it or aren't yet on our stakeholder list, you can access copies of each month's update here:
Educational Webinar Series: January-March 2023
- What were the webinars about? To kick start the process to review Vermont's renewable and clean electricity policies and programs, the Department of Public Service held a three-part webinar series to cover foundational topics on where Vermont’s electricity comes from, what policies and programs support the use of renewable electricity, and provide information about the process to develop future programs and policies that will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Content covered in each of the three webinars are available here:
- Webinar 1: Where Does Vermont’s Electricity Come From?
- Topics: How does the electric system get power to our homes and businesses; what electricity is generated in Vermont; what types of resources do Vermont utilities have to purchase to make sure the lights stay on?
- Dates, times, & registration:
- Presentation slides
- Webinar 2: Current Renewable Electricity Policies
- Topics: Current policies and programs including the Renewable Energy Standard, Net-Metering, and the Standard Offer program and how they have helped support renewable electricity to date.
- Dates, times, & registration:
- Presentation slides
- Webinar 3: Parking Lot Session - Renewable Energy Certificates and their Markets
- Topics: A deeper dive on renewable energy certificates with Jason Gifford from Sustainable Energy Advantage
- Dates, times, & registration:
- Wednesday March 15, 12:00 pm-1:00 pm, [Video recording]
- Presentation slides
- Webinar Questions & Answers - Includes all questions asked by webinar participants and answers for those questions not addressed live during the webinar
♦ Accessibility: Please request reasonable accommodations by calling the Department at 1-800-622-4496 or emailing PSD-REPrograms@vermont.gov. Please submit your request 10 calendar days in advance of the webinar.
12/01/22: Public Service Department Releases Public Engagement Plan to Guide Review of Vermont’s Renewable Electricity Policy and Programs
- The Department's proposed public engagement plan is meant to guide a comprehensive review of Vermont's renewable and clean electricity programs and policies over the next year. The proposed plan incorporates input received earlier this year from the Request for Input and envisions three phases of public engagement to implement a core recommendation of the Comprehensive Energy Plan.
- Feedback? The Department welcomes feedback on the proposed plan. Please submit feedback through via email at PSD-REPrograms@vermont.gov
- How did you develop the Public Engagement Plan? This plan was informed by a Request for Input (RFI), issued in July 2022 to solicit feedback on the process for the comprehensive review and to gather initial input about what is important to Vermonters regarding the State’s supply of electricity. Links to the RFI, the related press release and supporting materials, and the synthesis of information submitted are below:
- August 1, 2022, Press Release - RFI Response Deadline extended to August 15, 2022
- July 5, 2022, Press Release
- Request for Input document
- 10/14/22: Request for Input - Response Synthesis
- 10/14/22: Request for Input - All Responses
- RFI Supporting Materials:
- Request for Input overview: This two-page document provides a high-level description of the Request for Input and general scope of information under consideration. This document serves as an initial primer to the RFI, before diving into the specific questions under consideration.
- Visual Comparison of Potential Timelines: The Department's Request for Input asks a couple questions regarding how Vermonters would like to see the review of renewable and clean electricity programs and policies occur. In particular, the questions reference Appendix A of the Request for Input, which details two illustrative timelines of how this process could occur. To support review of and reflection on those timelines, the Department has developed a high-level visual of these two timelines, highlighting core milestones in each potential process.
- VECAN Webinar and Supporting Slides: In addition to these written materials, staff from the Department participated in a webinar with the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) on July 29, 2022, to discuss the Request for Input and answer participants' questions on the effort. The recording from that webinar, slides, and other materials are available for review via VECAN's website at: https://vecan.net/vecan-vermont-public-service-department-webinar-rfi-f…
11/8/22: The Department has posted the Draft 2023 RES Model on the Renewables page for review.
Comprehensive Energy Plan
The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) sets out a pathway for Vermont to obtain 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. This ambitious goal calls on all citizens to take actions that will collectively transform the way we use and produce energy in our electric, transportation, and heating sectors. Some of the main policies and incentives available to Vermonters that will help effect this transformation are highlighted below. For an in-depth look at the CEP's goals and recommendations, please review the 2022 Comprehensive Energy Plan.
Renewable Energy Standard
Beginning in 2017 the Vermont Renewable Energy Standard (RES) required utilities to meet certain goals. Specifically, by 2032, to:
- Meet 75% of sales with renewable energy (55% in 2017, 59% in 2020)
- Meet 10% of sales with distributed generation (1% in 2017, 2.2% in 2020)
- Meet 12% of sales with "energy transformation projects" (2% in 2017, 4% in 2020)*
*Municipal electric utilities having not more than 6,000 customers have different targets (2.67% in 2020; 10.67% by 2032)
Vermont and the world are facing the impacts of climate change and it’s time to act. The initial Vermont Climate Action Plan, released on December 1, 2021, outlines steps to cut climate pollution and help Vermonters prepare for extreme weather and other impacts caused by climate change.
The Legislature established the Vermont Climate Council to draft the plan. As they drafted the plan, the Climate Council incorporated ideas and feedback from a wide range of Vermonters.
The initial Vermont Climate Action Plan is a first step in climate action and will be updated at least every four years. The plan includes an implementation section for legislators and other state-level stakeholders to inform decision-making.
The net-metering program, which was established in 1999, is only one of several programs available for developing solar and other types of renewable energy in Vermont. Customers who participate in the net-metering program can offset their electric bills through financial incentives based on the amount of electricity generated by their net-metering systems
The Vermont Public Utilities Commission manages the net-metering program. For complete information on the program visit their net-metering website:
The purpose of CEDF is to increase in Vermont the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources, primarily with respect to renewable energy resources, and the use of combined heat and power technologies. Additional information on CEDF can be found on the CEDF page.
Any electric generation facility must receive a Certificate of Public Good from the Public Utility Commission (PUC) before site preparation or construction can begin on that facility.
Section 248 of Title 30 sets forth the land use, economic, and engineering criteria that the PUC uses to review projects. Depending on the size and type of project, however, the criteria that are reviewed and the process for review can vary considerably.
In 2009 Vermont created one of the first standard price offerings for renewables in the nation, as part of the state's Sustainably Priced Energy for Economic Development (SPEED) program. The first iteration of the program resulted in fixed-price contracts for 50 MW of in-state renewables projects (up to 2.2 MW each). In 2012 the Vermont legislature increased the program by 77.5 MW, up to a total of 127.5 MW through 2022. More information is available on the Standard Offer page.
This webpage provides information and resources regarding renewable energy sources including solar, biomass, wind, and hydropower.